If you have ever been arrested on criminal charges, such as a DUI, you should recognize the line in the Miranda Rights that states that “if you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed to you.” Even if you have never been in handcuffs, you’ve probably heard a movie or television character say this exact phrase. But why is it so popular? Why do we all have a right to a lawyer? Can’t you just skip all that and represent yourself in the court of law? Does a man who represents himself have a fool for a client?
The short answer is: Maybe. Just as you have every right to a state-appointed attorney, if you qualify financially, you also have the right to act as your own lawyer. For small civil disputes that don’t involve thousands of dollars, seeing a professional attorney may not be required. But, when you begin considering all the details and pitfalls of a criminal case, the answer becomes much less straightforward.
Representing Yourself Can Be Extremely Difficult
In a criminal case, there is so much at stake, it doesn’t really make sense to go it alone. An experienced criminal defense attorney will be able to analyze your case, gather evidence, and begin to deconstruct the prosecution’s claims with much greater success than the Average Joe. Not to mention they will be able to do it much faster. Sometimes you lose track of time and the court date is only a few weeks away – without an attorney, you could be sunk.
Even if you are 100% confident in your innocence, and even if you feel you are charismatic enough to present a strong case in your defense, you should retain a criminal defense lawyer. If nothing else, brainstorming and reviewing evidence with someone who has dedicated their lives to litigation can be the grain of sand that tips the scales in your favor.
Lastly – paperwork. There’s going to be a lot of it, and it will vary depending on the court you’re dealing with. Simply filing a lawsuit or receiving a sentence requires attention to detail and proper procedures that can be a real headache if you lack familiarity with them.
In summation, yes, you can represent yourself in court but it is not highly recommended. If you have been arrested for a DUI, contact me, Attorney Jonathan Blecher, to be your Miami criminal defense attorney. With my help, you can take the guesswork out of your case and step into court with confidence.